New year, new intention…

I love celebrating the new year. I love any reason for a fresh start. Even though as a teacher we’re only half way through the school year; it’s a great reason to pause, reflect, and set a new intention for the remaining school year ahead and for 2019 as a whole.

This year instead of setting a goal I have decided to invite more intention into my life.

In my yoga teacher training I meet a wonderful soul, Emilie Maynor who has started her own company, Emilie Maynor Elemental Living. Emilie says, “There’s a distinct difference between bringing focus to your life versus arbitrary goal or resolution setting… Goals & resolutions are often motivated by external influencers. They come from the “shoulds,” insecurities or comparisons in life.”

A focused intention honors who and where you are right now, as well as what you are calling into your life. Intention setting, Sankalpa in Sanskrit, speaks to your ability to resolve more than the resolution or expectation of a resolution. It’s a goal created by the heart and mind.” (Emilie Maynor)

Emilie says, “Intention is purposeful and honest.”

At the beginning of the school year my principal invited each teacher to come up with #oneword for our school year. After a short writing activity I came up with two words to chose from: Love & Peace. I chose “peace” because I felt that it embodied everything I was aiming towards in my life. I chose to be at peace in the difficult moments and it has really helped me in stressful moments.

I really liked the idea of one word or short phrase to reflect upon throughout the year and really enjoyed all the peace and clarity that “peace” brought me over the past few months. Emilie also says “simply choosing a word or short phrase to embody over the year is most impactful.”

For 2019 my new word is “presence.” I am here. In my body and mind, I aim to be fully present in all moments.

I started January 1, 2019 with my family and being fully present. We went for a hike, we cooked dinner and hosted for my family and friends, we toasted champagne to the present moment and to a healthy and happy 2019.


January 1, 2019

I invite you to bring focus into your life and find your one word or phrase for 2019.

If your struggling to find your word and don’t know where to start Emilie has a helpful worksheet! Click here for Emilie’s worksheet to invite purpose, clarity, and intention into 2019.

Happy new year, dear friend!

Global Mala 2015…

September is fast approaching! To me, this means another school year with a new class of precious kindergartners, national yoga month, and Global Mala!


Global Mala is held on the United Nations International Day of Peace & Fall Equinox every year and people all across the world gather to celebrate peace. As yogi’s, we will gather to practice 108 sun salutations and offer our practice for world peace. Don’t let the number 108 scare you! Come as you are and offer your practice as it is now. Every year we have yogis that come and rock all 108, some set a goal for doing 20, and others come and sit in meditation (or better yet, savasana!) and feel the energy of all the like-minded peaceful humans around them.



Join us for a pre-party at Trim Tab Brewery on Thursday, September 17, 7:00-9:00pm. Come out an get to know your yoga community! Fellow yogis from all over Birmingham will be gathering together at Trim Tab to mingle and have some of the best brew in town! Get your photo taken at our photo booth, have your tarot cards read, meet your favorite teachers and fellow yogis, enjoy some eats from Cantina Food Truck and enjoy a beer on a fall evening. (See the Facebook event here: Global Mala pre-party at Trim Tab)

FOR THE MAIN EVENT, we will gather at Vulcan Park on Saturday, September 19 at 8:00am. Bring your mat, some water, and your beautiful self! We will join together to practice sun salutation looking over the city at Vulcan Park. The group will complete 108 rounds, but don’t be intimidated by the number! Simply drink in the energy of the practice or practice for as long as is right for YOU and then relax, enjoy the music, view, and community!! Escape day spa will make an appearance and offer free Thai massage, manicures, and free products! You can also treat yourself to a little henna tattoo! Children are always welcome, so bring the whole family! (See the Facebook event here: Global Mala 2015)

After party! Join us for a post Global Mala meal at Asian Rim in the Colonnade, 11:00am – 3:00pm. Who doesn’t love brunch?! They will be donating 20% of the proceeds from all sales between 11:00am and 3:00pm to Sweet Om Alabama. Come and enjoy some post sun-salutation fuel with your best new yogi friends! (See the Facebook event here: Brunch at Asian Rim Benefiting Sweet Om Alabama)


Annie, from Villager Yoga sporting her beautiful henna tattoo!

Every year our National Yoga Month events support Sweet Om Alabama. A charity organization that supports other charities in the Birmingham area! Sweet Om Alabama shirts are available for a $35 donation and have an awesome design with the Birmingham skyline! I also bought a super soft sweatshirt for a $45 donation! The sweatshirts are gray with a black Sweet Om logo.

Sweet Om shirt and a selfie!

Sweet Om shirt and a selfie!

I can’t wait to see your smiling face at Global Mala!




In light of the anniversary of 9.11, I wanted to write about tolerance. Turning on the news this morning I see talk of a Pastor that hung a banner outside the church that said “Burn a Quran Day.” Wether or not the burning took place is not my object of focus. As a pastor and a man of God at the head of his church, to show such intolerance for others is what really shook me to my core. Have tolerance and respect for others. Tolerance for others faith, religion, beliefs, rituals, lifestyles, race, etc. I do not wish to get into a political debate, just to open everyone’s eyes to one thing: Respect.

Coming from my Christian background I know that the Bible teaches us to “love one another.” There is no clause that says, “unless their skin is another color” or “unless they don’t believe in your God.” Let me remind other Christians out there: “Thou shalt not judge.” Don’t worry about what others are doing, the only person you have to worry about is yourself.

“If you cannot see God in all, you cannot see God at all.”

Hatred is worldwide, but what’s most alarming is the locus of hatred encompasses religion also, the very institution that was meant to mitigate it. We find that every religion preaches universal love towards all mankind and makes it incumbent on its devotees to practice good ethical behaviour as a matter of duty. But we all know that there is a wide gap between precepts and practice in this regard. After all, respect for other religions should not come merely as a matter of good protocol, but it should arise spontaneously out of a deeper conviction of one’s own conceptual framework about the totality of the truth that is taught in one’s own religion.

“We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty, and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors. But they all have to live in the same box.”

“COEXIST is a way to demonstrate your support of religious freedom, tolerance and understanding.”

Coexist is a movement to help stop this worldwide problem.

Love & respect,

Peace of mind…

Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra teaches that the only person you can change is yourself; your practice is to create change from within by clearing your mind, connecting with your true Self, and acting from a place of wisdom. But the beauty of this seemingly “selfish” practice is that when you do your inner work, others around you, particularly those you are closest to, experience the positive effects of your work firsthand.

Our loved ones are often inspired by the positive changes they see in us to start their own yoga practice. As you continue with your practice, you can inspire others on the path of yoga, creating a community, or sangha, of support and encouragement. What better way to create positive change in the world than through your own quiet but powerful example?

((find the beauty in your day))

We all love the thought of a daily practice but can’t always “make time” for one. I remind you that yoga is not only a physical practice, as long as you take time during your day to find peace of mind, whether you’re far from home or just juggling a hectic day. Take time to use this powerful three minute breathing practice to help feel grounded wherever you are:

Set an intention
Express something specific, such as, “I know this problem can be overcome. I seek insight to see more clearly.”

Find some privacy
If you can’t find a quiet corner anywhere, put on headphones and play a familiar favorite song.

Let go of tension
Take four big breaths. On the inhalation, lift your shoulders to your ears. On the exhalation, release them down your back.

Take 10 breaths
Close your eyes and take 10 slow breaths. Keep your awareness on the sensations of breathing. If you get caught up in a train of thought, start again from breath #1. Keep trying until you’ve taken 10 consecutive breaths without distraction.

Return to your intention
To finish, bring your hands into prayer position in front of your heart, bowing your head to the teacher within. Repeat your intention. Slowly open your eyes.

I love doing this when I’m having a busy day and haven’t felt like I’ve had any “me” time. If you travel a lot, this is a great way to reconnect with yourself and helps you feel grounded wherever you are.

Peace & Love,

Reference: Yoga Journal 2010

Find your own Inner Sanctuary…

What is an Inner Sanctuary, and how do I find it?

Part of yoga is a Soul Searching of sorts, always looking to find that calm inner Guru that can help us through any situation. To help us to stay calm in times of panic, help us find guidance in times of need and to help us reach inward and find our own words of wisdom.

So many Westerners think of yoga as just the asana, or poses. The yoga asana is a very minimal part of the journey. Don’t get me wrong, I love my yoga asana. It makes me feel energized and ready for anything. This is because most people experience this: When you get into yoga and start to love your practice you realize that during that hour or two when you are practicing asana, your mind is still, your bad day has disappeared, and you have forgotten about all the hectic activity going on around you. This is your Inner Sanctuary.

“No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only still water that we can see.” ~ Taoist Proverb

“When the river is deepest it makes the least noise” ~Proverb

There are so many ancient writings that show us that the power of inner peace has been important for so long. It is only when your mind is clear that one can truly see. People are often scared of meditation. Thinking that it’s weird or it goes against their religion. Think of this, even during prayer, you pray and ask God for guidance and at the end you pause, open your ears, eyes and heart to receive guidance. This is meditation. Take time during your day to sit and just listen. Listen for God, listen for Buddha, listen for your own voice, it doesn’t matter what your religion is, as long as your heart and mind are open. You will be amazed at the ideas and wisdom that come to you during your moments of silence.

“What is Guru and who is Guru? The conscious within you is the Guru. The one that guides you, the one that enlightens you. And such, there is a Guru in everybody.”

Om, shanti, shanti, shanti…

Om, peace, peace, peace!

This mantra is an invocation of peace, often repeated at the end of a session of practice. It has two functions. First, it affirms that peace is available to us at any moment that we choose to tune in to it. Second, repeating this mantra helps to create more peace in the world, beacause according to yoga philosophy, when we call something into being with a pure heart and a focused mind, we are using our consciousness to shape reality. This is in fact the primary purpose of all mantras: They are tools to manifest intention.
To extract the full power of this mantra, visualize each word’s impact as you recite it. For example, while reciting the first shanti, you can invoke greater peace within yourself; with the second shanti, peace in your family and friendships; and with the third, peace on the planet. When you do this with full faith, devotion, and focused intention, you will create greater opportunities for peace in all these realms.

Om, shanti, shanti, shanti

Interpreted by Christopher D. Wallis
Photo by Ashes & Snow